Call center work is one of the most difficult positions there are. Your call center agents have to have constant interaction with your customers, supervisors, and co-workers. This is why tensions can run high and the stress of attempting to solve problems throughout the day can weigh on any employee.
It is important to provide incentives for performance and reward your employees for superior performance. This can usually help make a difficult job better. During the process of crafting a fair and effective call center incentive program takes work and research in order to be effective and should be designed to both reward your employees and create an atmosphere where performance can improve.
For example, one thing to focus on should be coaching. With effective training for superior customer service, you can go about improving effectiveness and meeting customer service goals. However, don’t forget that your supervisors shouldn’t be the only ones responsible if your employees are not given the proper tools and skills to perform their job. This should be a collective effort and it is important that every level of your company is included in the process.
Balancing Effectiveness and Efficiency of your Call center Incentive Program
There are a few ways to build on your call center incentive. For example, you can incentivize your sales process by offering bonuses. Your best agents could earn an extra per hour through individual orders taken if they achieved threshold targets for availability and schedule adherence.
You could set the desired length of duration for this scheme and your agents’ bonus could be paid at the end of the month. This provides motivation for your employees to meet their individual and their cumulative efforts. Commission payments work well in some situations, but the question is how do you sustain this type of performance uplift across an entire period? It is important to think of alternatives to just paying cash.
If you are looking to improve your call center incentive program, there are many ways to motivate your agents. Different companies administer different types of schemes. For example, there could be a system in place where your agents earn points which then qualify them for prizes. In this case, it is important to know the demographics of your employees because not everyone will be satisfied with the same prizes.
Your employees that run a house and raise a family might appreciate a scheme as gift vouchers for certain stores or even a discount off the weekly shopping bill could be important. Your younger employees might want a new gadget instead. And some of your employees might appreciate a day off more than anything.
Whatever you choose, the most important scheme should be about the recognition of staff. One good thing to do is to incorporate a Thank You board. The way this works is by having anyone in the company can post on it a personal thank you to another member of staff – the nomination can be for anything, however large or small.
Then, at the end of the month, you could have a winner that is drawn from those people nominated throughout the month. This way you can have all winners displayed on the wall next to the board in the break room. Even better if they can win a title or a reward to go along with that. This is something that guarantees involvement from everyone in your company and doesn’t create gaps between teams.
Creating Effective Call Center Bonus Structures
If you would like to restructure your call center incentive program, then you might want to revise your bonuses. There are three main bonus structures that are typically used for agent bonus plans. Your bonus structures can be one, a combination of two, or a mix of all the bonus structures listed below:
- Individual: The bonuses that you give out are based on set goals placed by the call center. When the goal is met, individual agents are eligible for a set bonus. This gives employees an incentive to go above and beyond in their responsibilities.
- Team-work: Your bonuses are based on a team or department’s goals. All members of the team will receive bonuses when the goal set by the call center is achieved.
- Company-wide: Your bonuses are based on the company’s performance as a whole.
When you are setting up your call center incentive program and coming up with a new call center bonus structure, it is recommended to have employee bonuses be the biggest portion of the eligible bonus. This could be followed by the team bonus and company bonus as a means to keep your employees motivated as the biggest factor of their bonus payout.
There are other kinds of bonuses that you can incorporate into your bonus structure. These would be either related to individual performances, or they will be improvised bonuses that you can set up during specific times of the year.
Performance-Based Individual Bonuses
For this bonus type, the call center will set targets that agents must reach in order to receive a bonus. This can be individually based, though sometimes you can base it on the entire team, and can be awarded once targets are met or during set time frames, from weekly and monthly to semi-annually or annually.
This type of bonus is typically used to show gratitude towards agents for high performance. These bonuses are flexible in that they are not planned like target bonuses, and don’t necessarily need to have a set amount. These are effective in keeping your agents feeling appreciative as they are unexpected, and they aren’t required to be large to make a difference. Agents will appreciate an extra gift, no matter how small.
Project Milestone Bonuses
This type of bonus is awarded based on certain achievements that are not metrics-based, such as length of service or completion of other special projects employees may have. It depends on the kind of a call center and company in general that you might have, as not every company works on projects.
Creating a Great Call Center Incentive Program
The best way to go about creating a great call center incentive program and to minimize your agent churn is by implementing reward and recognition. There are keys to self-motivated employees. And when you can achieve self-motivation, the results are amazing!
It is important that your bonuses are real-time. They are given regularly and they are not a distant hope at the end of a month or year – and only if all the company numbers stack up. This is no motivation at all. When reward has some element of subjective judgment by managers, it turns off more agents than it motivates. So, your bonuses need to be regular and they need to include everyone.
When your agents can see an objective report every minute of the day on precisely how they are performing – and they know that they will be rewarded for that performance – your outputs and productivity will go off the scale.
Number of Calls Handled
An effective call center incentive program can be designed around the number of calls handled per day by your customer service agents.
This means that you must be careful to monitor that agents are not handling customers too quickly. If that is done, then this incentive can also help you to reduce customer service complaints about time spent on hold. The way to do it is by establishing a baseline of your average call length and providing incentives for the number of calls taken over that average. Base the incentives on a weekly basis so call times can average out and award dollar amounts for your best performers.
Calls in Cue
Currently, most call centers track and display the number of calls in cue. The way to reduce them is by incentivizing this. You could track and reward your employees, including supervisors, as they reduce these calls dramatically will increase customer satisfaction because the time on hold will be reduced.
For example, a total team or shift award of cash, time off or merchandise awards would be a good way toward motivating for your staff. Establish a baseline of calls in cue and create numbers of calls that are acceptable. Distribute special awards for those teams whose calls in cue reach zero over a specified period of time.
Customer Service Scores
Creating an effective call center incentive program based on customer service scores is a valuable tool to help you improve both these scores and employee performance. You could develop a brief customer feedback form that your clients can complete easily.
This could be one of the topics of your company’s weekly meetings. Why not discuss the scores with your team and award prizes for the best scores and also most improved associates? You can bonuses could be in the terms of money, gift cards, merchandise prizes or certificates. On top of this, you could also add yearly awards of larger prizes. These will also give your employees a target to strive toward.
If you agents are split into different teams within your company, then awarding teams prizes is important for boosting your call center incentive. First of all, decide what you want to improve the most in your center. That could be reducing complaints, increasing sales, improving financial results, etc.
The best way to do this is by creating a tracking system for these targeted areas and measuring team performance against other teams to inspire competition. If you decide on posting these scores daily and award prizes both weekly and monthly, you will see a spike in motivation. You can go a step further by motivating your employees by offering on-the-spot rewards that your managers can give when an associate is spotted performing in an exceptional manner.